'Ibiza': Why Critics Hate It and Audiences Love It
Critics are struggling to find a point to the film...but maybe that is the point.
Netflix Original Ibiza is another classic example of a film that critics love to hate, yet audiences can't get enough of. But why is that? The movie features a star-studded cast including Gillian Jacobs, Phoebe Robinson, Vanessa Bayer, and Richard Madden, and is considered to be both a romantic comedy and a raunchy girl's night flick. It seems like the perfect summer movie, and audiences definitely agree! So, why aren't critics on board?
Well, the Ibiza reviews tend to have one thing in common, and it can be summarized in a single word: why? Critics find themselves asking what exactly the movie is trying to get across, but maybe, just maybe, the problem is the question itself. Maybe all Ibiza is supposed to be is a fun, summer flick, with no hidden meanings! There doesn't necessarily need to be an extensive amount of character development with a film like this, and quite frankly, audiences aren't watching this for Oscar-worthy moments. Some movies are simply supposed to be fun, and Ibiza is most certainly one of those movies. That being said, there can be a balance to make both audiences and critics happy. Here are some of the reasons explaining why people can't make up their mind.
The character development isn't as strong as it could be.
There are some films, some characters, that require 20-30 minute origin stories. Some characters get entire movies on their origins (yes, I'm looking at you, Wolverine)! But with a late night comedy, that kind of character development just isn't needed. However, you can't just throw the concept out of the window, either. It's all about balance. Take Harper (Gillian Jacobs), our main character in Ibiza, for example. Though it's obvious she doesn't have a great boss from the start, what isn't clear is how much she hates her job. We're able to infer that later in the film, but until then, it can be hard to empathize with her when she makes some very questionable decisions. Even an five extra minutes in the beginning of the film, showing her day-to-day life, her routine, could have made a substantial difference, especially in the eyes of the critics.
The dialogue is simple, but natural.
When Harper tells her friends that her boss is sending her to Spain for the weekend, they insist on coming along for a little last-minute get away full of suntanning and clubbing. But when Harper tells them they aren't coming, they just look at her, and in unison say, "Yas". Is it the most inspired line of dialogue? Certainly not. But I can honestly say it's realistic! Even if it's ironically, I've heard every single one of my millennial friends say 'yas' at least once in their life. And I'm not going to lie, alcohol brings those stereotyped phrases out even more.
There are awkward pauses and phrases uttered, particularly between Harper and Leo (Richard Madden), which only draws audiences in further. Real life encounters with potential flings are often not suave, and not completely sexy either. It's filled with tension, stuttering, and trying not to make a fool out of yourself. This adorable and realistic portrayal with awkward but sweet dialogue may not be Oscar-worthy, but it's so accurate that audiences can't help but love it.
Ibiza is pure, mindless, summer fun
The whole movie is quite hazy, and recreates the club/night-life atmosphere all too well. Ibiza is immersive in its drug-induced, dancing daze, and that's all it's supposed to be. When you try to look at it as anything more, searching for the message of the story or a point to any of it, you'll find nothing but disappointment. Ibiza isn't about to teach you a life lesson (although it definitely shows you what not to do). This is the movie you watch when you want to drop everything and go on some crazy vacation, but can't. It affords you the escape without the cost. That's the point! And when you look at it for what it is, it becomes a lot more enjoyable.
When you're used to reviewing artistic, surrealist films, as many critics often do, it becomes habit to look for the deeper meaning. But the truth is, some films just aren't made for that. Ibiza is a fun-loving, late-night, wild summer flick. It's filled with funny and crazy moments, and adorably awkward lines. It's a party movie. And if critics look at it as one, they'll enjoy it too.
Ibiza is streaming now on Netflix.